Review: Somers Town (2008)

Somers Town is a beautiful feel good thing. This charming film was part of a 2 for £10 deal in HMV. A few years have passed since its release and my subsequent purchase, but the acquisition of Somers Town remains up there as one my best sporadic DVD purchases.

The plot, which is admittedly a rather skimpy one, centres around Marek (Piotr Jagiello), a Polish teen who prances about in an Arsenal shirt with ‘Terry Henry’ on the back and the annoying little runt from the This is England series, Tomo (Thomas Turgoose). They become mates. Have a bit of banter. Fall for some fit French girl. And well, that’s it really. Excuse the terseness, but this film is a short’n with a running time of just 70 minutes and not that much happens. But it is a beautiful little thing.

Don’t fiddle about with the brightness, director Shane Meadows chooses to shoot Somers Town entirely in black-and-white, and pulls it off expertly – transforming Somers Town, a small lil’ area wedged between Euston and Kings Cross scattered with crumbling high-rise tower-blocks, gas works and Graham’s (Perry Benson) deckchairs (you’ll see what I mean) and makes it appear somewhat rustic. And just a stones-throw away from two of the biggest stations in London, quite an attractive proposition for a first-time buyer too.

Both new to area, Marek and Tomo embark on a journey around the estates, and share adventures which are endearingly coming-of-age(y) and comical. The unscripted dialogue from Tomo in particular, comes off as successfully authentic; he stutters and stammers and speaks as imperfectly as you know normal people do, making him far less annoying on the whole.

And so, satisfyingly after an ill-fated start – notably when Tomo is robbed of all of possessions and is left penniless on day one down saath from Nottingham, things do literally brighten up in the end. And it does feel good, especially alongside a soundtrack which is exquisite and heartfelt and now on my iPod.

I mean for a film funded by Eurostar for some strange reason I don’t really I understand, Somers Town is a surprise corker. I was probably a little harsh about the plot, specifically the lack of it, because stuff does obviously happen and it’s a far more uplifting tale than anything in This is England. It really is a beautiful film and well worth a watch. And for me well worth the 5 quid.

By Ashley Hickson-Lovence

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